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tech with water heater We all take our plumbing for granted when it works, but when it doesn’t work it can be inconvenient, frustrating and costly.  Did you know that you can keep your home’s plumbing in great shape and avoid costly problems with a plumbing tune up?  What is a plumbing tune up, you ask?

There are many steps that can be included in a professional plumbing tune up, but we will cover the more important steps here.

Check water pressure and adjust if needed

Several factors can cause your water pressure to change, including leaks, clogs, or issues with municipal water suppliers.  Water pressure that is too high can damage seals, cartridges, faucets, appliances and water heaters.  Having your water pressure checked once a year by an expert Anthony PHC plumber safeguards these items and prevents expensive repairs and replacements.  But if you hear your pipes banging don’t wait, have your water pressure measured right away – this is called water hammer, and it can happen when water pressure is too high.

Remember that high water pressure also increases your water usage and costs you more on your water and sewer bill.

Check for leaks and repair if needed

Even a small leak can increase your water bill significantly, not to mention damage your walls, cabinets and floors.  Leaking faucets are easy to spot, but our expert Anthony PHC plumbers check for hidden water damage caused by leaking water behind cabinet doors and appliances.  They also check washing machine hoses for bulges – a bulging washer hose can burst and cause a lot of money in water damage, especially if you are away from home for an extended period and not around to notice the leak.  If you leave your home for extended vacations, consider having our plumbers install an Anthony Water Guardian water leak detection system that will alert you of damaging leaks via your cell phone, and automatically shut the water off to your home, preventing damage.

Unclog faucets, drains and sewers

Over time, faucets can get clogged by mineral deposits and debris which restrict water flow.  Cleaning the aerator in your faucets regularly prevents this.  Fixtures that don’t have aerators will benefit from a good vinegar soaking to help remove mineral scale and improve water flow.

Remember that mineral scale deposits build up in drain pipes as well, along with hair, grease and other debris.  Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will inspect slow moving drains cabled them to release partial blockages.  Some homeowners find a periodic sewer mainline rodding helpful to prevent blockages caused from tree roots.

Condition or soften your water

As mentioned above, mineral scale build up from hard water can clog your faucets and drains, but it can also damage your water heater, dishwasher, coffee pot and other appliances.  If you haven’t yet incorporated a conditioning of softening system into your home’s plumbing, you should consider doing so.  “Tuning up” your water by removing hardness can extend the life of your pipes, fixtures and appliances and save you money and plumbing problems.  Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will test the hardness of your water and review the best water conditioning options for your home and your family.

Inspect and test your sump pump and battery back up sump pump

Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will inspect and test your sump pump as well as your battery back up system.  Alignment of each pump’s float is critical for proper operation.  Any debris in the sump pit will be removed and the discharge piping will be properly secured as well as tested.  Systems that infrequently operate are subject to clogs in the discharge piping which renders the pump useless.  Neglecting to provide periodic maintenance to a sump pump can void your sump pump endorsement on your homeowners insurance, leaving you with no coverage for water damage caused if your sump pump fails.  Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will perform these inspections and maintenance for you, and document their work to satisfy your homeowners insurance.

Water heaters need a yearly tune up

Your water heater will live a long life if it is tuned up annually.  Traditional tank water heaters need to be drained and flushed to remove mineral deposits.  Tankless water heaters must have yearly maintenance to remove scale build up.  Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will perform both of these tasks, as well as check and clean the burner, make sure the combustion bi-products are venting properly, and test your gas pipe connections to make sure no gas is leaking.

Anthony PHC’s A.S.A.P. plumbing membership adds peace of mind

As you can see, caring for and maintaining your plumbing is a big job, and an important one, to save your money and your family’s health.  The best way to stay on top of your home’s plumbing needs is with an Anthony Service Agreement Program low-cost plumbing membership.  Anthony PHC customer care staff will call you to schedule this yearly service so you don’t have to think about it, and your expert Anthony PHC plumber will take care of all the maintenance and inspections for you.  We have heating and cooling memberships available as well.  Call us today at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.

The Anthony PHC’s A.S.A.P. plumbing membership includes the following annual maintenance steps:

10-point water heater tune up:

  1. Check water shut-off valve for proper operation
  2. Test temperature and pressure safety relief valve
  3. Drain water from tank to flush out sediment and replace drain valve if necessary
  4. Inspect anode rod if accessible
  5. Check water pressure at the tank and install expansion tank if needed
  6. Clean burner or lint chamber on FVIR water heater
  7. Check thermocouple and clean if necessary
  8. Check for gas leaks
  9. Check for proper drafting of vent gases and integrity of venting system
  10. Check for visible corrosion and stability of tank base

Dye-test all toilets and check all toilet connections and seals for tightness

Check all faucets for proper operation and clean faucet screens

Test sump pump and battery back-up sump pump for proper operation

Inspect all exposed drain pipes and floor drains

Inspect all gas piping and valves

Install safety identification labels on plumbing valves and piping

Check garbage disposer, dishwasher, clothes dryer and washing machine connections

girl prepping her lawn for fallWeather can change quickly, so it’s best to be prepared for season changes before they arrive.  Fall marks the dawn of the heating season, and your home requires special attention to maintain a safe and healthy indoor environment when you turn on your furnace.  Your plumbing needs special preparation for cold weather, too.  By preparing for fall early, it can save you time, trouble and money.

Your Air Conditioning Still Needs Attention

Fall doesn’t mean the end of hot weather – you may still need your air conditioning well into the season.  If you haven’t had your cooling system tuned up this year, then it is smart to get it done before the season ends.

As the fall weeds grow and leaves fall, keep an eye on your outside air conditioner to keep the coil clean and unobstructed so it will be ready to go for next season.  When you no longer need cooling, you may consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from yard and tree debris.  Air conditioners do not require covers to protect them from winter precipitation however, and heat pumps should never be covered.

Did you know that fall is a great time to purchase a new air conditioner?  Prices for cooling systems are lowest in the fall and spring when HVAC contractors are not as busy.  Look for good deals on air conditioners, and on furnaces, too.  Consider replacing these items in the slow fall and spring seasons to take advantage of lower prices.

Furnace Safety Checks are Critical for Health and Safety

Fire, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and indoor air pollution are potential hazards of heating your home.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 170 Americans die every year from accidental CO poisoning alone.  Furnace safety checks, CO detectors and smoke detectors are your main defense against heating system hazards.

Furnace safety checks should be done by highly-trained heating technicians like those at Anthony PHC. A partial list of tasks that should be performed during a safety inspection include:

  • Examine the heat exchanger for cracks with state-of-the-art inspection cameras
  • Test for any dangerous gas leaks such as CO
  • Test and clean the ignition system for safe and proper operation
  • Test the safety and control circuits
  • Ensure the exhaust is venting properly

CO and smoke detectors only work if they are functioning correctly.  Change the batteries in your CO and smoke alarms at the start of every fall, and make sure there is at least one of each on every level of your home.  Also consider installing the new WiFi smart alarm systems that will alert you to trouble via your phone when you are away from home.

Furnace Tune Ups Done Annually Save Energy and Satisfy Warranties

Safety comes first, but saving money and optimizing the life of your heating system is important, too.  While your Anthony PHC technician is performing your furnace safety inspection, have them perform your annual furnace tune up.  It is important to know that many air conditioning and heating components require annual maintenance to keep their warranties in effect.  And before you turn on your furnace, check your filter and replace it if needed.

Humidifiers Need Annual Maintenance, Too

Heating system humidifiers require annual maintenance, too.  Have your Anthony PHC technician clean and check your humidifier and replace the water panel.  Before turning on your furnace, make sure your humidifier is turned on, then turn your humidistat to 35% relative humidity, or the #4 setting, for optimal humidity.  Proper humidity levels can prevent the growth of viruses and bacteria and keep your nasal passages healthy.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions Could Save Your Life

Indoor air is up to 100% more polluted than outdoor air, which becomes a real concern as we close windows up for the winter.  Luckily there are several solutions available to vastly improve the quality of your indoor air.  Air scrubbers are a popular option.  UV lamps placed in your heating system can cut down on mold and allergens significantly.  Mechanical and electronic filters which replace your standard 1” filter are a great option, too.  Polluted indoor air has been linked to lung, cardiovascular and allergy problems.  Discuss the best solution for your family’s unique health needs with your Anthony PHC technician.

Don’t Forget the Fireplace

At some point you may decide to have a nice cozy fire in your fireplace.  But before the weather gets too cold or inclement, have your fireplace, flue and chimney checked for fire and gas hazards.

Protect Against Frozen Pipes with a Plumbing Inspection

Avoid broken pipes due to frozen water caused by garden hoses left attached to outside faucets.  Remove all hoses from outside faucets, drain them, and place them in storage.  Or even better, replace your outside hose faucets with frost-free versions, and you will never have to worry about forgetting your hose, because they will not freeze even with the hose attached.

Before freezing temperatures settle in, take a good look at your plumbing to determine where frozen pipes might happen, and insulate them where possible.  Any pipes in a wall adjacent to the outside or garage are at risk for freezing.  Fall is an excellent time for a plumbing inspection and safety check.  Your Anthony PHC plumber will be able to advise you on plumbing insulation tips while making sure your water heater is ready for the increased demand for hot water due to cold weather.

Natural Gas Infrared Garage Heaters Are a Great Winter Defense

One way to protect against frozen pipes is to install a natural gas infrared garage heater.  Garage heaters that run on natural gas can heat your garage for pennies a day, and warm up adjacent rooms at the same time.  Because they use no electricity, they are a great back up if your furnace stops working due to electricity outages caused by winter ice or windstorms.

Garage heaters are a wonderful way to extend your usable living space during the winter when the outdoor areas become unusable.  They help extend the life of your vehicles, too.

Your Fall Prep Checklist

In summary, to make your transition into fall easier, perform these fall preparation tasks as soon as possible in the season:

Cooling System Prep

  • Check and clean your outside air conditioner coil
  • Get a cooling system tune up
  • Consider purchasing a new air conditioner (with ozone friendly refrigerant) or furnace during the fall

Heating System Prep

  • Check your furnace filter
  • Test your CO and smoke detectors and replace the batteries
  • Get a furnace tune-up and safety inspection
  • Turn duct system dampers to the winter position
  • Schedule a fireplace, flue and chimney inspection

Humidifier

  • Turn the bypass air humidifier damper to the on position and turn thermostat on
  • Schedule to have the humidifier cleaned and checked

Indoor Air Purification

  • Install an air purification system to protect against indoor pollutants and allergens

Plumbing

  • Remove garden hoses and consider purchase of frost-free outdoor faucets
  • Insulate pipes against freezing in suspect areas
  • Consider purchasing a natural gas infrared garage heater to keep pipes from freezing

Call Us Today to Schedule a Fall Prep Visit

Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has highly trained technicians and plumbers available to come to your home and answer all your questions about preparing your home for the coming fall and winter seasons.  Call us any time of the night or day at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO to schedule fall prep service.